Let me start by saying this: I am pro-life.
I am pro-life for the unborn. I am pro-life for the migrant children flooding our borders seeking refuge from the atrocities in their own countries. I am pro-life for their parents who risked everything to send them or bring them here.
I am pro-life for the millions of undocumented workers in our country who help make our country run, but who are afraid to avail themselves of needed help because of the fear of deportation. And I’m pro-life for their children, brought here but not able to get onto a path to citizenship.
I am pro-life for the prisoners on death row who will not have a chance for redemption, or worse yet to be rescued from a false verdict that placed them there in the first place. I am pro-life for the prisoners suffering and dying in un-airconditioned cells all over our country.
I am pro-life for the victims of war, and that includes those ordered to fight them who come home often broken and forgotten. I am pro-life for those who suffer in poverty. I am pro-life for those being abused and discriminated against. I am pro-life for the planet we are slowly using up for our own selfish ends without regard for the stewardship entrusted to us by our Creator or the future of our children and grandchildren.
I am pro Black lives and blue lives and brown lives and pink lives and purple lives and green lives.
I am pro-life. All of life.
So I find it hypocritical when people who claim to be pro-life have no regard for any of these things but the unborn. To me that isn’t pro-life. That’s just anti-abortion.
I read with a pit in my stomach the resolution passed by the Southern Baptist Convention this week calling for “the immediate abolition of abortion without exception or compromise.” Not because I’m pro-abortion, but because I am pro-life.
It was a harsh statement. “We affirm that the murder of preborn children is a crime against humanity that must be punished equally under the law.” But what they are really saying is that the life of the mother doesn’t matter to them at all, no matter the circumstances upon which she became pregnant or if it kills her giving birth. Only the unborn matters.
“I find it hypocritical when people who claim to be pro-life have no regard for any of these things but the unborn.”
Plus, I find it interesting that those who decry abortion and want to make it illegal and punish those who do it also seem to pretend that women get pregnant all by themselves. What about the men who got them pregnant? Where is the call for their accountability? Shouldn’t they also bear the brunt of condemnation and punishment too?
This issue is not as black and white as many would like to think. It is more nuanced and complicated, and our laws and our dealing with those who have made that difficult choice should reflect that. I have known women who had to make that choice, and I know the agony with which they made it. Contrary to popular belief, it is rarely done lightly.
So if we truly want to end abortion, then we must work on the root causes. We must help those who can’t afford contraception to get it. That means supporting those organizations that provide such a service.
We must educate our children about sex and help them understand the beautiful gift and the awesome responsibility it is, explaining the risks of unprotected sex and the consequences that can result.
“I am pro-life, but I can’t support laws that will just make things worse.”
And while we’re at it, we should make adoption cheaper and easier to obtain. There are many children in foster care right now who could be adopted if the process was easier and more affordable. Let’s find a way to cut through the red tape.
This is a complicated issue. It deserves more thought than black-and-white pronouncements or restrictive laws that only further victimize those who feel they have no choice. Going back to the back alleys and coat-hanger days or the days where only the wealthy could afford it is not the answer.
I am pro-life, but I can’t support laws that will just make things worse.
Lindsay Bergstrom serves as director of operations for Baptist News Global and is a member of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
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